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What I Deserve

Based on the title, how would fill in this blank?

If you’re like me, you may say nice things like a healthy family, plenty of money, more readers for this blog, or any number of things. Fundamentally, those who are Christians understand that based on sin and depravity I deserved death, hell, punishment, and lots of other bad stuff.

It is this latter fact that I’m focusing on today and the confusion I often have concerning this.

See, when I have messed up, sinned, failed, had a blow-out, whatever terminology you put on it–I clearly and profoundly understand that I deserve nothing from God but He gives His love and grace anyway. When I get through a month or week or hour without screwing up, I too often start to believe that I am somehow earning the grace now.

Bull crap (I would prefer to use a stronger term because of how deeply and seriously I feel this, but I’ll spare you).

We see it in movies where one character sacrifices for another then commissions another character to earn their chance or opportunity. That may work great as a plot device, but it’s terrible in our theology. God doesn’t honor it.

See full size imageI may grow and mature in God, but I will never get to the place where I don’t deserve death or anything more than a kick in the teeth from a holy, perfect God. The way(s) I fall short may not seem like much to you or it may seem absolutely horrible. Either way, it doesn’t matter. We put degrees on sin, not God.

I pursue His kingdom and righteousness because I love Him and want to be near Him. When I take my eyes off Him, it slowly and sometimes quickly unravels. I get disappointed, others may get hurt, and God just wants me to remember Him always.

The truth of the matter is, I never deserved grace and I never will. The more I can understand that and let it seep into my very marrow, the better. Every day I live, every breath I breath, every positive step I take–it’s all because of Him (and it’s in spite of me).

There’s no condemnation in this and I’m not trying to be a downer. I’m only trying to remind myself. I’ll never get to a place where I can pay back the ransom Jesus paid for me. That’s not low self-esteem. It’s viewing things rightly.

Lord, help me to remember that I cannot weaken Your promise with my failures just like I can’t strengthen the promise with my obedience. It’s all for You, from You, by You, and through You. Thank you for the undeserved grace You have freely poured out into my life. I receive more as I seek Your face today. In Jesus’ name, I pray–amen.

18 Comments

  1. Challenging us today eh? Good thoughts Bro', reminds me of this quote:

    Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times. -- Martin Luther

    I know what I deserve but I'm confident in His grace.

    Peace,
    Jay

  2. If I am totally honest (what other way is there to be?) I have to confess that I deserve nothing. Not a thing. As you probably already know I get mercy (not getting what I do deserve) and grace (getting what I don't deserve). It is when I begin to think "I am all that and more" that God reminds me what I truly am-a sinner saved by His grace. Good thoughts today Jason.

  3. "I will never get to the place where I don’t deserve death or anything more than a kick in the teeth from a holy, perfect God."

    And yet with open arms, He loves us perfectly and forgives us -- Not because of who we are or what we deserve, but because of who He is…

    Great word today Jason! Keep on brother!

  4. Very thought-provoking post, Jason. I have trouble finding perspective on this issue. I have a tendency to get bogged down in how awful, terrible, sinful, unworthy, and unfaithful I am and I don't remember God's love or that He knows my heart best of all and that He knew from the very beginning that I wouldn't be perfect. I keep trying to earn my way in--even though I know there's nothing I can do to earn my way in. I keep expecting God to be like man… That when I mess up, He'll love me less and that nothing I can do is going to be enough to earn His favor back. And I think that's what makes this post so important… You keep reminding me of the truth. Thanks, my brother! :)

  5. You always have amazing quotes, Jay. I appreciate that! I'm definitely confident in that grace too. It's very humbling.

  6. Thank you Bill. Isn't crazy how subtle pride is? It sneaks in and sabotages us. We should have no problem remembering how small we are and how great He is, but we do (a lot). All of this makes me marvel at the depths of that mercy and grace you were talking about. Thanks Bill.

  7. That's it exactly, Dusty. Thank you.

  8. Bringing the truth hot and fresh as I experience it (in this case, over and over)--that's what I do! :)

    You bring an interesting and important point that I didn't quite bring out here: we need to see ourselves rightly but the first step is to see God rightly. We start from the position of loved and forgiven and move from there. Thanks for provoking my own thoughts Sarah!

  9. I like your vein of thought here. That God doesn't put degrees or levels on sin. To me the following statement seemed a little out of rhythem with the rest of the blog.
    "I may grow and mature in God, but I will never get to the place where I don’t deserve death or anything more than a kick in the teeth from a holy, perfect God."
    I think you said it best, to Sarah. We need to see our selves as loved and forgiven. If I'm forgiven, then I don't deserve a "kick in the teeth", lol. If I believe that I am forgiven of all my sins past, present, and future ( of course from the vantage point of the cross, all my sins were future), then sin is no longer an issue for me or for God!
    II Corinthians 5:19 " that is , that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation."
    That says that God is not imputing ( considering, takeing into account, reckoning) our sins against us! If as Christians we beleive that we deserve to be kicked in the teethe by God, then we have a sin consciousness, not a God consciesness. God isn't taking into account our sins, we shouldn't either!!! This is the Word of reconciliation He gave us!! This is the good news.
    Just some thoughts that were stirred in me from your blog, thought I'd share. Enjoyed your thoughts, thanks!

  10. Hey Gabe! Thanks for the thoughts. I agree completely and love how you brought it out. The 'kick in the teeth' part was more my descriptive way of presenting it than anything else (obviously, no scriptural basis for this). :)

    I don't deserve anything He gives but He already gave it. Naturally, because of sin, I deserve death and destruction, eternal separation from holiness. I didn't deserve forgiveness and I can earn His favor. I just accept it.

    My main point is that no matter what I do or how much I grow in the grace and my relationship with Jesus, I'll never deserve it. Yes, I'm redeemed and a new creation, but it's that paradox of eternity (i.e., Paul saying alternate places we are adopted as sons and others 'we are eagerly awaiting our adoption' -both are true in an eternal perspective).

    Keeping His love and gift of grace and life central while remembering I'm nothing without Him is what keeps me in the right receiving line. In other words, humble. Jesus MADE Himself nothing on our behalf, emptied Himself and became a servant. If I can recognize I have nothing but He gave freely, I can live in that love and be the servant of all.

    Thanks for the great discussion! Please come back soon.

  11. I think it's especially hard in our society to NOT think we can earn our way into heaven. Living a "good" life, making "good" choices and helping mankind (modern philanthropy) are not the path to God. While it is important to do these things, it's all for not if the love of God is absent.

    Love this: "I cannot weaken Your promise with my failures just like I can’t strengthen the promise with my obedience." Something we need to repeat to ourselves daily. Totally worth meditating on regularly.

    Thanks, Jason!

  12. That is so true, Ginny. We are preoccupied and encouraged to the things that makes us feel good about ourselves. Doing good for others can be just another notch on the belt, so to speak.

    That part you picked out on has been running through my head a lot lately- over and over. I agree. It needs to be a daily reminder. Thanks Ginny!

  13. Grace is defined as unmerited favor. It's like a pardon to the sentence of death that we, as human, were given due to our sin. But we must trust and accept this pardon as he lovingly and freely gives us……

    This is just so ON!
    "that I cannot weaken Your promise with my failures just like I can’t strengthen the promise with my obedience."

    love that! I was brought up with the "earning" notion……very hard to stop that mindset.

  14. I wasn't necessarily brought up with the earning mindset in spiritual terms (maybe in some ways), but my brain definitely takes it that direction a lot. It's like we're wired that way or at least our culture tells us as much. I'm glad there's enough grace to fight it and we will overcome. Thank you Michelle.

  15. I read this first thing this morning, and I still don't know what to say, except that this post gave me a lot to think about. It's not that I didn't know that I don't need to earn grace. It's just that I often slip into thinking I'm not good enough to be given it. But I am His child, and He wants to give me this undeserved gift, because He loves me. Wow! I am one lucky (blessed) girl!

  16. Amen- no luck involved. You are chosen and loved and most definitely blessed. Thank Helen.

  17. Don't know what to say, Jason… except that I'm guilty. It was a powerful reminder. Sometimes we need to have a pastorly talk from someone like you involving the words "bull crap."

    Just sayin.

  18. Thanks Duane- I'm here for you. :)